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  • Swati Chopra

University of Virginia

This is a series of posts on campuses I've visited. At times I've had the chance to meet up with admission officers and have included specific majors and data here. Please keep the date of my visit in mind as admission requirements and freshmen profiles change annually and updating these posts will not always be possible. To see other schools' profiles, please visit my website.

June 2023 - General Tour

Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia is one of the oldest universities in the country. Thomas Jefferson's vision was to build a public university designed to advance human knowledge, educate leaders and cultivate an informed citizenry. Even after two centuries, it's still easily one of the most prestigious public schools in the nation and holds its own when compared to both highly selective public and private universities.

Campus Feel and Surrounding Areas

UVA is definitely one of the few top tier public universities which feels cozy and doesn't feel too big. When you walk on Grounds (they don't say campus — so it's not on-campus, it's on Grounds) it has a very friendly vibe. Students seem happy and even though it can get crowded (there are around 17,000 undergraduates here), the large campus doesn't feel crowded at all.

The campus is dotted with historical buildings, some designed by Jefferson himself, and amazingly enough, they're still in use. The history in this part of the country is awe-inspiring. The Lawn, which runs from the Rotunda to the Old Cabell Hall is flanked on both sides with the original dorm rooms from the 1800s. Today, students can fill out an application to reside in these dorms and approximately 50 lucky seniors can call it home for a year.

Charlottesville seems like a perfect 'college town,' rich with culture. There are restaurants and bars; gorgeous vineyards and wineries; and plenty of shops, theaters, and other cultural attractions, so you'll find a lot to do. Located just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, hikes and trails abound. The beautiful, historic Downtown Mall is a great place to stroll and catch a movie and/or a meal. And for all of us history buffs, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello is a mere 20 minutes away.

Washington DC is a three hour drive and definitely easy to get to for the weekend. Charlottesville has its own airport, but there are no direct flights from California.

Career Focus

Students take advantage of the career advisor and meet usually once a semester. The alumni network is also strong and students have the opportunity to take part in the Virginia Alumni Mentoring to help them as they focus on the future. Many students are employed even before they graduate. Approximately 69% of graduates go straight into jobs, while 12% continue their education (at UVA or elsewhere). Out of 22,590 reporting graduates, 1,727 found work in education, 1,129 found work in the internet & software industry, and 977 UVA graduates have moved into the health care industry. Capital One, Deloitte, and Amazon are the three top employers after the University of Virginia.

Student Body and Social Life

69% of undergraduates are Virginians, and 4 percent are international. The student body represents 50 state and 147 countries and is predominantly white with over 8,700 students. Asian American students are the second demographic group but much smaller at around 3,000 students. UVA is currently home to 59 Sorority and Fraternity chapters. The UVA social scene is dynamic and varied and approximately 28% of the undergraduate student population is a member of a fraternal organization. UVA has in recent years initiated and updated several programs aimed at education and prevention for the safety of the student body. Lastly, founded in 1842, the Honor System is one of the University’s most cherished institutions. Based on the principle that University students want to be trusted, the Honor System helps create and strengthen a school-wide community of trust.


Academics are strong and UVA is known for its business, engineering, and global studies departments. The most popular majors are economics, commerce, biology, foreign affairs, and computer science. After their second year, about 350 students are accepted into the McIntire School of Commerce, UVA’s undergraduate business school. UVA also offers over 70 programs internationally and about 1/3 of the students opt to study abroad for either a semester or a full year. The cost for out of state students is around $56,000 which is much lower than many other public and private schools.


UVA uses the Common App and offers ED as well as EA admission deadlines. Admit rates at UVA have dropped quite a bit over the past decade. Last cycle it was 27% for in-state students and 12% for out of state, including international. Virginians are 2/3 of the total incoming freshmen. UVA is also one of only two public universities in the nation that practices need-blind admissions and meets 100 percent of all admitted students’ demonstrated financial need, although achieving socioeconomic diversity remains a challenge. For Engineering students, top level Physics and Calculus is highly recommended.


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